On the Janet Mefferd Radio Show: Still Too Much Concern About ‘Family’
I listened to a new online Mefferd radio show. I only listened to it once. Here’s a link to that show:
(Link): Mary Eberstadt talks about her book ‘How the West Really Lost God’
After Mefferd did a radio show a few weeks ago about the marriage rate going down and out- of- wedlock births going up, where she (or a guest), if I remember right, blamed feminism or something for this situation, I sent her an e-mail via her site’s contact form to notify her that not all singles, not all female singles, are deliberately choosing to remain single (see this page).
So I find it interesting that in this more recent broadcast, Mefferd did at least mention singlehood and singles in passing. Maybe she got my message.
However, I was disappointed that the thrust of her show and the focus by the guest remained on family, child bearing, and church attendance.
The author seemed to be saying that married people who have kids are more likely to attend church than single people, or people who do not have children.
Well, this information is actually nothing new – it was either discussed in the Duin book “Quitting Church” or “Singled Out” by Field and Colon.
Both Mefferd and her author guest seem to feel this is wonderful information, and also seemed to be linking the deterioration of society and lowering of church memberships with people not having children anymore.
In other words, (and maybe I am mistaken but), they seemed to be saying something that sounded rather circular, as in,
“if only more Christians would marry, have children, and go to church, not only would society improve, but church attendance would increase.”
The solution for making church attendance go up is not by emphasizing marriage and child bearing within marriage; I’ve discussed this before, please see this post and this post.
By only showing care and concern for married people and the institution itself, and none for people who are single, and by constantly pandering to the married or marriage itself, singles feel further alienated and have no desire or interest to attend churches.
This emphasis on marriage and encouraging parenthood by Christians, or in churches by preachers in Sunday sermons, is counterproductive, because it keeps singles away from church; it makes them want to avoid it: the common wisdom was that if a single Christian woman wanted to marry, what better place for her to meet Mr. Right than at a church – but this is no longer true.
This strategy to keep focusing on marriage and making babies is pushing singles away from churches, which keeps Christian singles apart (unless they are sticking to dating sites, and dating sites do not work for all who try them).
Not only are un-married Christian men not attending churches any more (for several reasons, one of which is the unrelenting obsession with marriage by preachers turns them off), but single Christian women have stopped attending in higher numbers as well (this was documented in the Duin book).
Most Baptist, evangelical and fundamentalist churches either ignore older single adults, or, because they tend to hold marriage and parenting up as the “Holy Grail” or Only Standard Of Success for the Christian, those who do not marry and do not have kids are made to feel like failures, and they feel left out- so they stop attending churches that foster this sort of thinking and church culture.
The solution for getting marriage back on track is to start ministering to OLDER SINGLE ADULTS. Start meeting the singles where they are.
One step invovled in that is for married Christians to stop acting as impediments to singles.
Stop telling singles that wanting marriage is “idolary” or that it is “selfish.”
Stop discouraging church as a place to meet and date (“we can’t have church turn into a meat market.”) Stop segregating Sunday School classes by gender, with males in one room, females in another.
In order for marriage to happen, one single has to marry another single, which means, churches need to find ways to attract and keep singles and allow them to mix and mingle with one another.
It’s not rocket science, but idiot churches keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting success but then scratching their heads in confusion as singles never marry, or don’t get married until they’re 40.
If you want singles to get married, then help singles. And help the singles who are still single over the age of 30, do not obsess over the teens and 20-somethings. Stop helping Christian people who are already married, which is what 99% of churches do 100% of the time.
Also, stop with the lamenting over decreased baby-making. Remember, some Christians choose not to have children. Respect that choice. Some Christians want to have children but have health issues and are unable to reproduce. Be more sensitive to that possibility.